Football news - Huge changes to Premier League and Champions League planned
The Premier League and UEFA are planning radical plans to complete the season and ensure they don't lose out on more than £1 billion in revenue.
MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 01: Head coach Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool lifts the Champions League Trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain on June 01, 2019. (Photo by B
With coronavirus causing havoc across the world, and with almost all sport suspended, the Sun reports that the Premier League are making plans to return to action when possible. In order to facilitate the end of the season, the league is considering broadcasting every one of the remaining 92 games left on television, and playing them at neutral grounds.
Paper Round’s view: Using neutral grounds would allow for clubs to avoid problems if their cities were particularly hard hit or were under specific lockdowns, and importantly it would dissuade fans from assembling outside their grounds and potentially spreading the virus to other people. While this obviously will be a money-spinner, it would serve to entertain a country that will likely be stuck indoors for months.
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Champions League considers weekend games
While the Premier League plans to play out the rest of the season, UEFA are drawing up their own options. The Mirror believes that the Champions League may be played on weekends, as contractual terms mean that it will be best if the competition is finished by June 30 this year. However they may also adapt next year’s qualifying rounds to make time.
Paper Round’s view: The Champions League is financially essential to UEFA and to other teams still in the tournament, and the Europa League offers a vital route back to the Champions League for some teams still involved. The plans to complete football by June do nevertheless seem optimistic, with some countries still seeing rapid growth in coronavirus cases.
The Football Association remains dedicated to finishing the domestic season despite the concerns and pressures arising from coronavirus, says the Telegraph. The Premier League wants to make sure their competition is not completed null and void, and they too have a June 30 deadline, which has been made easier after Euro 2020 was delayed by at least a year.
Paper Round’s view: If the season is not restarted in the coming months then it would likely be impossible to actually complete it in time for next season. Liverpool will of course be most concerned that they do not miss out on recognition for being almost certain champions at this point, but relegation-threatened sides might be wondering if it could help them retain their Premier League places.
The Daily Mail carries a story which might explain why everyone is so keen to restart the league and get it finished by the summer. The paper believes that a clause in the broadcast contract means if the tournament is not done by July 31, then it could cost them around £750 million in fines. There could be a legal battle ahead if there is a disagreement with BT and Sky.
Paper Round’s view: These are valid concerns for the sides, but BT and Sky have huge economic pressures themselves. Really, this problem is so big, and it spreads across so many related and unrelated industries in this country and abroad, that government intervention everywhere will be needed to make sure life returns to normal without catastrophic financial damage.